Set S.M.A.R.T Goals For Performance Growth

by Dr. Ron Arndt

Right Hiring and Retention Manual for the Dental Team,
For many of us, it is the START that STOPS us from moving forward and achieving our objectives. When we look at a big project, we immediately feel intimidated. This “bigness” or “I don’t know where to begin” leads us to procrastinate taking action to make our goals a reality. I see this happening with many dentists in my work as THE DENTAL COACH©.

Raising the overall performance of your practice begins with developing the skills of the individuals. Set goals that address improvements in knowledge, skills, or behavior. The best goals are S.M.A.R.T. ones.

Below, are my definitions of a S.M.A.R.T goal.

  • Specific – Define what needs to happen or how behavior should change.
  • Measurable – How will you recognize success? Is it about task completion (i.e. cleaning up filing backlog), results (i.e. 10% increase in…) or behavior (observable change)?
  • Action-oriented – The best goals challenge people and require that they do something new, at higher level, or in a new way.
  • Realistic – Make sure the goal is achievable. Attending a seminar, or having a discussion, or reading about a new technique is realistic.
  • Time-bound – Goals should have an element of time – frequency (do this daily/weekly), or deadline (do by 4-1).

Example: “Complete a minimum of ten past-due patient follow-up calls by phone each day for the next quarter.“ This is simple, yet it is still a S.M.A.R.T goal. Why? It meets all of the requirements: It is specific (“past-due patient calls”), measurable (daily), action-oriented (requires a change in behavior), realistic (ten per day is attainable), and time-bound (“each day for the next quarter”).

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